The short list: Campbelltown must choose wisely its new general manager

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Campbelltown Council will tonight interview the last three candidates for the general manager’s position.

Campbelltown Council is about to appoint a new general manager to replace the retiring Paul Tosi, who was in the job for 15 years.

We won’t find out who gets the job for a few days yet, with the three short listed candidates being interviewed by the full council tonight (July 7).

But what is important is that the council appoints someone who has the vision to take Campbelltown forward.

The general manager’s job in a local council is similar to that of a chief executive officer of a big corporation.

The person in that seat works with the board – in this case the councillors – to devise strategy and to execute it.

But in a lot of ways the general manager is the person who drives the council forward more than anyone else, because the mayor and the councillors are usually part time functions.

Most councillors, including the mayor, have other full time careers, unless they are retired.

So it is up to the general manager to drive change as it’s required through the organisation and to draw up a plan that lifts the bar on how good Campbelltown can be.

By any measure, Campbelltown has fallen behind in some areas, with inertia having set in in recent years.

This was inevitable in some way because there hasn’t been the renewal in personnel necessary to keep momentum going.

Having the same people running things for many years is good for stability but does nothing for moving things forward.

Campbelltown is also surrounded by two very ambitious councils in Liverpool and Camden, which is another reason it does not come out well in any comparison of recent years.

What this council has forgotten is that you need to be forever trying to improve things, otherwise you get left behind in the game.

Campbelltown certainly needs an injection of new blood among its councillors and hopefully this will happen at the next election in 2016.

But with the timely retirement of Paul Tosi, a new general manager means the opportunity to fill one of the big pieces of the puzzle.

Of course all of this has hanging over it the Fit for the Future cloud, the state government’s determination to reduce the number of metropolitan councils.

Campbelltown councillors tonight should just forget talk of amalgamation and concentrate on the challenges facing the town in the next 20 years when huge growth is forecast.

This will mean increasing pressure on roads and other infrastructure and the need for more local jobs.

Campbelltown has just been granted regional city status and with that comes the pressure of delivering on higher expectations.

That’s why council must choose wisely the person to become its general manager for the next five years.


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